This Fall we made our way to Ohio for deputation. It is always good to visit with old friends and share our experiences face to face.
In October we were able to visit a supporting church in Virginia where Tavia,a former team member, attends. Such a warm and caring group of people, and we were able to spend some time with Tavia and her family. We now know that there is no good route from Virginia to Ohio. Up and around the mountain, down around the mountain, then do it again. We finally made it to Ohio where we were able to spend some much-desired time with our grandchildren, Julia and Keller. We timed our visit in October in order to be able to attend the Fairfield County Fair. The kids had a great time running from ride to ride. (Julia is so good to help Keller.)
Richard and I have always enjoyed the fair…Richard is partial to the horse pull, and I enjoyed watching some of Julia’s friends showing their animals. Of course, there is also the attraction of the familiar food stands calling our names: chicken and noodles from the band boosters, sausage sandwiches to support a local church, pizza, italian sausage and the list goes on. The best part of the fair is bumping into old friends and acquaintances, giving us opportunity to share our family updates with one another.
In December, we once again made our way back to Ohio. It has become a Christmas tradition for all of our family to meet at Joe and Kate’s house to celebrate the holidays. We were also able to visit with our parents and share some family time with them. It’s a special time for all of us to visit with one another and for our parents to see how much the great-grandchildren have grown. They still can’t believe that Morgan is old enough to be driving. Christmas is always a special time for Richard and me. We love having all of our kids in one place and spending time with them. Every year I cry as we leave to head home. We thank the Lord for this crazy, loving family He has given us.
We are now into the year 2018. It is hard to believe that April will mark our fourth year with Teen Missions. We’ve done a lot of traveling and made some dear friends along the way. We are especially thankful for the teens that the Lord has put in our path. We have enjoyed all of the kids and continue to pray that they will remain faithful to the Lord.
Right now Richard is working with the volunteers, making a “cow train” for the Mustard Seed summer program, making some much-needed repairs to homes on Heavenly Street, and general repairs on equipment at Teen Missions. He just finished teaching at the Intensive Pastors Training Program that Teen Missions holds in January. Now he will start studying for his Florida roofing license. I am back on the phone working as receptionist. It’s a blessing to have the opportunity to meet visitors, share with the students and staff, and speak with so many over the phone. Soon I will start ordering the food for the summer teams. I need plenty of time to get everything taped and bagged for travel. My goal is to have it all completed before the teens arrive.
Our summer plans will be a bit different this year. Instead of leading a team, we will have the opportunity to go to Ecuador in a missionary role. With two teams going from the United States and a national Boot Camp running while they are in Ecuador, there is a need for support staff to help host all of the teams. Please continue to pray for us as this will be a new experience for us in Ecuador. During the Florida Boot Camp, I will be helping a friend run the kitchen and do the cooking for the hundreds of team members, leaders and volunteers. Please pray for Cathy and myself as we cook and minister to those we are feeding. I will also be doing my usual job of purchasing and preparing food for the teams to take to the field with them. Richard will be teaching Layout Class and fixing maintenance problems as they arise. This can be a full-time job!
You will be interested to know that the legal issues with the property in Playas continue. At times it feels like they will never end; therefore, we have found it necessary to move to a new location. A new property has been purchased near La Concordia, which is centrally located, making it much more accommodating to everyone. It is a lush land with pepper, cocoa and other crops already in production. Plans are to have Boot Camp operational in March. Yes, that means two Boot Camps in 2018. The northern and southern areas have different schedules for school breaks making this possible. Please lift up Leonidas, Mirian and their family, serving as the Ecuador coordinators. They are asking the Lord to raise up enough young people to start a BIBLE MISSIONARY & WORK Training Center by the end of the year. This is a two-year Bible training followed by a one-year internship geared to prepare young people for the mission field.
In late February, Joe and a mission group from Lancaster Community Church will travel to Ecuador. We will meet them there to help Leo and Mirian prepare the grounds for Boot Camp in March. We are thankful for all of the work that LCC has done for Teen Missions, both is Ecuador and in Florida.
Once again thank you for your prayers and support. Only through prayer are we able to do all that we do, for we know it is not in our power, but His.
Richard & Gina